Becoming a regular runner requires patience, perseverance, and determination. It also gives you a chance to practice awareness as you learn how to stay safe during your run. After all, breaking a sweat in the great outdoors requires a different approach than indoor gym time. When you run outside, you are sharing a public space with people, cars, and animals. And the reality is that it is impossible to control everything that goes on around you. As a result, practicing good judgement and mindfulness makes all the difference.
Plus, we cannot ignore the news about the recent attacks on female runners. It is something that we all need to be aware of. And along with the potential of car-related accidents, joggers can face some tricky situations. Does this mean you should ditch outdoor running and find a different healthy exercise routine? Of course not. It is all about developing a well-rounded mindset while taking the necessary precautions to safely run outdoors.
The following list shares simple tips and ideas for doing just that. Each action only requires a small amount of extra effort during each run. The key is to repetitively perform each one until it becomes second nature. By doing so, you will be making important moves to protect yourself as you treat your body well.
1. Run during the day
When possible, run during the day. You will be more visible to pedestrians, drivers, and fellow runners. To top it off, you will be able to notice your surroundings and keep an eye out for suspicious individuals. Basically, hitting the pavement after sunrise (and before sunset) is one of the safest things you can do.
2. Stay in populated areas
Avoid isolated routes with little to no people. Instead, opt for paths with consistent foot traffic; this will offer more hands on deck in case something goes awry. Obviously, this doesn't mean you need to run through the most congested part of town. Any route with consistent bystanders and pedestrians is a wise choice.
3. Bring a running buddy
Exercising with a friend has serious perks. It transforms the workout into a social activity while offering an extra dose of protection. Between the two of you, there are more eyes and ears to stay alert. Safety in numbers, people.
4. Ditch the music
I know, I know... music makes everything better. However, when it comes to running outside, blasting your favorite tunes might work against your favor. Blocking out your surroundings makes you less aware of things like footsteps, car horns, and animals. If you absolutely must listen to music, use just one earphone. Otherwise, save the music for the treadmill.
5. Wear bright clothing
Aside from keeping you comfy while breaking a sweat, running clothes double as excellent safety tools. Make it easy for people to spot you by wearing vibrant colors. This is especially useful if you're running on the side of a busy road. If you don't want to buy new threads, deck out your clothes with strips of reflective tape. How's that for a clever craft project?
6. Update friends and family
Before heading out the door, send a quick text to a friend or family member. Let them know where you are going and how long you'll be out. Don't forget to let them know when you get back safely, too. Keeping someone in the know is an easy yet vital technique.
7. Stay alert
It's easy for your mind to get lost in the thrill of an awesome run. However, the mere act of paying attention to your surroundings can make all the difference. Make an effort to scan the path ahead and listen to sounds around you. Staying on guard will give you time to react in case trouble runs your way.
8. Abide by the rules
Sure, it might feel like pausing at a stoplight will mess with your flow. But it's one of the most important things you can do. Pedestrian rules exist for a reason, after all. Use crosswalks and follow street lights as if you were going for a walk. Jog in place while waiting at a stoplight and keep a close eye on street lights.